Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Marine National Park - Bhuj

We drove just under 50kms to Marine National Park, arriving shortly after first light and headed out to the beach. Ahh the beach…. Mangroves – sort of…. And Crab Plovers, everywhere. Littered along the tideline which was still a long way out was a thin white line shimmering in the early morning sunshine. The tide is very shallow here and pretty soon the water was rushing in rather quickly and we eventually had very good views of several close Crab Plovers, and in particular an adult and immature we watched for quite some time. 

Crab Plover - one of the birds of the trip

This was a major target for several of the group and we lapped up the views. The majority of plovers were much further out and a quick count revealed at least 1600 of them! Wow! But there were numerous others birds around such as Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, lots of Terek Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone etc. Some Lesser Crested Terns were loafing on the rocks, Gull-billed Terns constantly flew by, Steppe and Heuglin’s Gulls were in the distance, and just as we were leaving a couple of Pallas’s Gulls appeared with one bird flying right past us. 

Gull-billed Tern

Pallas's Gull

As we had another long drive we didn’t want to linger too long and returned to the coach, seeing a flyover Streak-throated Swallow and a Clamorous Reed Warbler in the bushes, as well as flocks of Rose-coloured Starlings. Oh and I’ve never seen so many Western Reef Herons in one spot before. 

Western Reef Heron

Driving out, a pair of Dalmatian Pelicans were close, along with another Red-necked Phalarope, some Black-necked Grebes, more Slender-billed Gulls and finally a Great Crested Grebe. And then we were off on the 7 hour drive to Bhuj.

We arrived at the Kutch Wilderness Camp around 4pm and after a welcome drink we had a walk around the area. This new lodge is sat on a ridge overlooking a large lake where we saw Western Osprey, both White and Dalmatian Pelicans, a flock of Greater Flamingo, Painted Stork, River Tern, and Great Thick-knee. A short walk along the lanes through acacia scrub produced Variable Wheatear, Jungle Prinia, Eastern Orphean Warbler, a Bluethroat and Paddyfield Warbler at a small reedy marsh, and finally a Streaked Weaver.

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